High school fashions, 1969

Miss Moss: High school fashions, 1969

i know what you’re thinking… are these more fashion snaps from coachella? no indeed! these are high school fashions in 1969 photographed by arthur shatz for life magazine.

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      • Kc says

        that’s not entirely true. people ironed their hair (on ironing boards, even) and many of the beauty products were even more caustic then than now, kids just didn’t use them then. Yes high schoolers ARE kids. I just think it has to do with how long we have been exposed as a society,high schoolers growing up too fast and our nutrition (lack their of)….
        Far out fashions, regardless.

    • says

      That’s because we didn’t shampoo all the goodness out of it every day and then destroy it with heat. I shampooed my hair twice a week at the most back then. Now I’m 61, and I STILL have thick, shiny hair.

  1. says

    Wow these are really incredible! Most schools back then seemed to have had such a strict dress code, I feel like it’s rare to see outfits like these in a school setting which makes it all the more interesting. Maybe this was like their version of a casual Friday or something?? So groovy heheh.

    • says

      I don’t recall very much in the way of a lot of strict dress codes in most public schools with which I was familiar. Are you of that era? What town did you live in?

      • oldhag420 says

        No strict dress codes when I was in high school in a small lil town on northern Cali. The shorter the minis, the better, and big ol’ bellbottoms, peace, love, and happiness, lol. I grew up a hundred or so miles north of San Francisco, in the 60’s and 70’s, had a whole lot of fun then, and was always “dressed to the nines”

  2. says

    These are fantastic. The clothes are so voluminous! They look so modern, apart from their expressions – they seem much less self aware than some of the lacklustre Coachella pictures I’ve seen.

  3. says

    These pictures are beautiful. Ive looked at them at least ten times. I’m going to have to keep all my clothing for my children because fashion most def does come full circle. Thanks for sharing

  4. willa says

    I was almost in high school in 1969 and I had those wacky tights and several of the shoes and sandals shown in the photos–thanks for the great trip!

  5. says

    wow! these are so great. i wish people still dressed with a bit more.. class. even those these are all dressed down kind of outfits, no one wears anything nice anymore! my mom has some really cool pics hanging outside her high school (and the one i went to) from almost a decade after this in 1978, still really cool people all hanging out on the grass.

  6. says

    Groovy……….I graduated in 1969 and these photos brought back good memories of things we used to wear………the clothes were just more fun and wholesome looking (asisde from mico minis) and the hair…………..not dyed and not chopped off………left long and thick and parted down the middle, note too, the lips on the girls…….there appears to be no lipstick, but indeed there was, it was specifically flesh colored, I remember it well, we tried to make out lips NOT stand out! What a funny thing to do LOL. They should post some pictures of the early 70’s too, in 1970 “hot pants” came out………I remember walking around EMU campus in knee high patent boots, long dark hair and the ridiculous tiny little boxer short looking things called hot pants! Not a care in the world! Bring out Inagoddadavida baby, it’s time to be cool. From Lauren’s Mom

  7. says

    Wow, these photos are just fantastic. I love being able to look back on the world and see what it use to look like, as if time stands still right in those photos. Love it!

  8. says

    This is the most inspiring thing I’ve seen all day. Way. Too. Cool. In the drama department at my school we’re performing “Up the Down Staircase,” also set in the late 60’s. I’d love to do crazy fashion like these!


  9. says

    Look at the colour! No black to be seen! Makes me want to go home and make kermit green flares and candy pink minidresses. Sigh…I was born in the wrong era…

  10. says

    My Mom graduated in 1970. I had the good fortune to inherit a few pairs of unopened tights like the ones pictured above.

    I loved them to death. My friends didn’t know what hit them.

  11. kay says

    Wow! I remember those fashions! But we were not allowed to wear them to school. I lived in a conservative area. In 1971 I was a member of the committee that petitioned the school board to allow us girls to wear pants to school. That is right: girls could only wear skirts. And we had a teacher who would measure the hemlines to insure that they were only two inches above the knee. We had a major victory. We could wear dressy pants suits but absolutely no jeans.

  12. diane says

    i graduated in 1972 i remember in the winter walking to school with leggings on under my dress because it was so cold out and then having to take them off when getting to school because we were not allowed to wear pants to school until things changed and then we could and also one day i wore a jumper and it was measured it was more than the allowed 2 inches above the knee and i was sent home and i remember my mother having to bring the hem down a little. i had these green bell bottoms that were soo big i think they were called them elephant pants. i am glad i grew up in that era.

  13. Pierre says

    AGHH Life: to think all of these beautiful ladies are either old as fuck or dead
    at least they got immortalized in these pictures,cool…

  14. judijo says

    Um, I was in high school during that time and we were not allowed to wear skirts that short. The vice principal would line us up while we stood upright on our knees, and line up a ruler. Any girl wearing a skirt >4″ above the ground was sent home to change. Public school Anaheim, CA.

    These may be college. They look older, too.

    • Reaper says

      actually in the 60’s there was still some segregation, so it is plausible to say that this school was still segregated. It is also possible that even though it technically wasn’t segregated, the area they lived in was. You have to remember racism was a long lasting issue for the majority and still butts its ugly head into lives today-from both sides.

  15. Max says

    Wonderful shots. One thing I noticed is the complete absence of logos, brand names and labeling. Everything looks so pure and simple.

  16. says

    It’s funny, when you think about it. 90% Of these so-called “hipsters” wear things exactly like this today. It’s quite awesome how styles like these are coming back, and are extremely popular, especially among high school students of today. And, it’s even funnier to think about how three, or so years ago, kids in high school would thing clothes like those are boring. Hmm. Shows what we know!

  17. says

    I have a bunch of my mom’s amazing clothes that she wore in the late 60’s in high school that I wore again in high school and college. I also have a huge collection of amazing patterned tights and thigh highs that a friend bought for me in London a few years ago. A lot of this stuff is coming back around-definitely check out Etsy!

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  20. Mr. Notice says

    I notice that the girls back then had much smaller chests than today. What is this a product of? Steroids in our food? Love the outfits though!

  21. kathy says

    I luv this! Oh yeah, I was so cool , my hair half way to my waist, straight and parted down the middle. I strutted around school in fashion preppy clothes. I did’nt see my fav things of all, a villager purse, villager belt or weejuns!

  22. says

    1969 was a great time to be young and I was fortunate enough to take part in the first Camp America programme for UK students and graduates to become camp counsellors at American Summer Camps. I ended up at Camp Sequoia in the Catskills. It was an amazing experience. To visit New York, and later Washington and also to go into small town America in upstate New York (Monticello) was a pleasure and quite extraordinary. I met many super people and experienced American hospitality at its best. My only reget was to return to the UK and find that I had been so close to Woodstock and missed it

  23. LondonFog says

    Thanks for sharing. I just graduated from high school, and it makes me green with envy that I couldn’t have lived in this groovy period of time. Everyone looks so natural, colorful, and unafraid. I’ve always wondered if the photo quality is what people actually saw… it being more faded and smoggy looking. The times seem so much more bland now.

  24. Virginia says

    I ironed my hair, used Prell, used oil of olay, (on the hair to smooth it down) and rocked these outfits with the best of em. I graduated high school in 1969

  25. Erica says

    these photos are wonderful! They are soft and happy…..at ease….. The clothing is beautiful and makes me feel automatically comfortable.

  26. Jane says

    Blimey! They DO look healthier! Wonder if we could get a similar craze started again! Whats more – they people actually look happier and seem to be having a lot of fun!

  27. Brianna says

    The third to last photo in this collection was taken in front of Denver East High School! I attended East and graduated in 2008! Absolutely amazing to see something like this! Very cool!

  28. says

    indeed very nice and remarkable pictures…some clothes they wore back in that time era were co cute compared to some of the clothes we wear in our really crazy days…

  29. Linda says

    The only thing different for me was we DID NOT get to wear shorts, or slacks to school. Our hemlines had to be longer than mini too, ours had to touch the floor if we were kneeling. Or no shorter than the tips of our fingers when standing.

    1969 was my graduating class. I saw baby doll dresses, Roman sandals, hip hugger bell bottom pants …lots of memories….I was transported!

  30. Linda says

    Another thing that makes these smack of being taken much later on….the hair is all wrong. Where are all the big fat lacquered hair do’s??? Girls rarely wore jeans and they were not allowed at school. Boys didn’t were many jeans either….it was wheat pants and cords.

  31. Sandi Shackelford says

    I graduated high school in 1969 in SC. These fashions didn’t reach us until the next year, but the short skirts were so daring. Thank goodness pantyhose had recently become available!

  32. says

    I love the way styles keep repeating themselves. The colorful wide legged pants also called Palazzo are popular again, hats are always in style in my opinion and how much fun are those colorful tights!? Love! That’s the year I was born so its fun to see what was trending back then. Thanks for sharing :-)

  33. Alyson says

    My era – but how we would have loved to dress like this at school! In my english (girls only!) High School it was school uniform right to the age of 18 and yes, we too had to kneel on the floor to have our skirts measured. Modern women seem to have lost the ability to wear colours, my daughters wear nothing but black and neutrals which makes me despair. I protest and persist with my colourful ways – if I can’t find it I make it myself – and above all I never buy grey which is not a colour but a manifestation of depression! I am much encouraged by the comments this post has provoked – maybe oneday I’ll have colourful granddaughters?

  34. Mary s says

    i started high school in 1969. Fantastic time. Note no backpacks. We carried books in our arms! First year we were able to wear pants to school but my parents did not allow for another year. Skirts and knee socks w loafers!


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